Snow fell outside, startling most locals into slow motion, yet Audubon Charter School’s students continued with lesson plans, all carefully mapped out in self-directed notebooks.
Grant, a first grader, worked with a bead frame doing subtraction problems. A few feet away, Juliana, a third-grader, worked with a grammar box. She identified parts of speech in sentences by placing shapes above words: red circles over verbs, blue over adjectives and black triangles over nouns.
Grant and Juliana are different ages, progressing at different levels, but they occupy the same classroom with the same teacher and will do so until Juliana moves to fourth grade to join fifth graders. Merging similar ages and grade levels forms the core of the Montessori method developed in the early 20th Century by Italian educator Maria Montessori. The method acknowledges that same age children are not necessarily at the same stage of development.
At Audubon’s Broadway campus, for example, a teacher and instructional aide guide as many as three grades in one grouped classroom. The method adopts the collaborative atmosphere of the one-room schoolhouse in a creative way. No isolated desks arranged in straight rows of conformity are part of this campus.
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